Case studies at Denver Health: "patient dumping
" in the emergency department despite EMTALA, the law that banned it.
In the section on patient dumping
, HHS says, "Contractors must report to HHS any health plan issuer or group health plan they have identified as discouraging an individual from remaining enrolled in coverage offered by such issuer or health plan based on the individual's health status."
(66) EMTALA, widely referred to as the "Patient Dumping
Act," (67) was proposed and enacted in response to public outcry at highly publicized instances of hospitals denying life-saving treatment to people in need.
Lewis, 1999, Using Subjective Risk Adjusting to Prevent Patient Dumping
in the Health Care Industry, Journal of Economics and Management Strategy, 8(3): 351-382.
First, EMTALA is commonly referred to as the "Anti-Patient Dumping Act." According to the court, "Patient dumping
refers to a hospital's refusal to treat indigent and uninsured patients, thereby necessitating either formal or informal transfers of individuals from private to public hospitals."
Also known as 'demarketing of services' or 'management of patient mix,' (36) patient dumping
refers to the hospital practice of transferring or refusing to treat persons who are indigent, uninsured, or otherwise undesirable to admit.
Well, it turns out that 72 percent of the patient dumping
-- illegally sending patients with emergency conditions to other hospitals -- was done by those not-for-profit angels of mercy.
Although primarily intended to prevent patient dumping
, the law instituted fines for oncall physicians who do not respond to a request for help.
Professor's Smith's article, "The Elderly and Patient Dumping
" (October), reflects a critical omission: Who pays for this exercise in "fairness" and "respect"--and how do they pay?
Health horror stories about patient dumping
, "drive-through" procedures, and denial of emergency care abound in the news media.
Because of these limitations, it is likely that the extent and consequences of patient dumping
have grown over the past decade.
Enacted to address a growing concern over "patient dumping
" by hospitals, EMTALA guarantees all emergency room patients the same level of care, regardless of ability to pay, and prohibits the patient's transfer to another facility until the patient's emergency condition is properly stabilized.